Adapted from the Meriam Library, California State University, Chico
Currency: Timeliness of the information
When was the information published or posted? Has the information been revised or updated? Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Who is the intended audience? Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs?) Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
Authority: The source of the information
Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? What are the author’s credentials or organization affiliations? Is the author qualified to write on the topic? Does the url say anything about the source?
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
Where does the information come from? Is the information supported by evidence? Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade? Do the authors make their intentions or purpose clear? Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda? Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
Now you have a set of results that you can scan, looking for sites you trust:
These results, as we scan them, give us reason to suspect the site. Maybe we don’t know “City Paper,” which claims the site is fake. But we do know Snopes. When we take a look there, we find the following sentence about the Gazette:
On 21 September 2016, the Baltimore Gazette — a purveyor of fake news, not a real news outlet — published an article (Links to an external site.) reporting that any “rioters” caught looting in Charlotte would permanently lose food stamps and all other government benefits…
From Snopes, that’s pretty definitive. This is a fake news site.
Tip: Especially look at the Wikipedia articles and the Media Bias Fact check webpage about these news sites.
Adapted from Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers